I’ve gotten a lot of good out of writing advice over the years, I think. But I do agree that it can be contradictory and confusing at times. The trick for me is to take the advice that works for whatever you’re doing, that solves a specific problem, or shows you a way to address a weakness in your writing. Don’t follow advice just because it’s offered by someone who’s more successful. Be as skeptical of writing advice as you would be of any other – evaluate it, decide whether it’s helpful to you or not, and act accordingly. (Nice headline, by the way).
Writing advice is a great blessing…if only it wasn’t so contradictory. The more I read advice from the Greats, the more confused I become. Check out this assembly of quotes: http://www.buzzfeed.com/expresident/writing-advice-from-famous-authors
Did you see the one from F. Scott Fitzgerald? “Cut out all those exclamation marks. An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own joke.”
Then, right after, comes Neil Gaiman with: “Laugh at your own jokes.”
Then, G.K. Chesterton warns us against taking advice at all: “I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then doing the exact opposite.”
But, is this true? Does advice in writing always contradict itself? Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks so. Here are a few takes from those in the know.
Ygor H. Speranza wrote this really good post warning authors against twisting themselves into a pretzel trying to follow all that contradictory…
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